Mother eating her words; baby fighting for her life.

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Andrea on Baby Center, planning a twin homebirth, asked What would the world be like if we had no hospitals? and then proceeded to answer her own question with multiple comments claiming that hospitals are unnecessary.

She was shocked, shocked to discover that some women found her comments arrogant and ignorant.

She replied:

I mean, I know now that people now rely on such places like hospitals but what did people do before hospitals? Herb doctors, cleansing, or whatever was needed for the person to be back on trap. Maybe doctors did house visits. The post said what would the world be like without hospitals it was not meant to be disrespectful but for some reason there will always be that one person that you can count on to take a subject out of context.

And:

Who said that herbal cleanses don’t help against strokes and heart attacks.. There is an herb for every issue on earth. The herbs were here before technology. Sorry. No technology needed. Time is of essence though. In a timely manner most issues can be resolved by herbs, diet, and exercise.
Thats my story and Im sticking to it. Be mad if you want ladies. Thanks for giving the post relevance and commenting anyway.

The clincher, just in case you hadn’t gotten the point.

P.S.
You can’t have a natural unmedicated childbirth at the hospital.
That’s vinegar and water status it just doesnt mix.
Bye ladies

Andrea has learned a very hard lesson and her daughter is fighting for her life.

I did have my twins. Akilah …. and Aminah … on 05/24/2013 @ home. I wrote a recent post about What would the world be like without hospitals. I had to eat my words this last week because my second baby had prolapse cord and has been in the hospital since birth fighting for her life. Both babies were born great weights Baby Akilah first baby was 6lbs even and Baby Aminah was born 5lbs 9oz at birth. My midwife didn’t show up on time to deliver my babies so my natural unmediated childbirth was a disaster, it was pretty much an unassisted child birth and that is so dangerous with twins. So to all the women who commented on my previous post, I have to admit I was wrong about hospitals. We defintely need them. Without hospitals my daughter would be dead.

Kudos to Andrea for having the courage to acknowledge her mistake. I have two questions for her if she’d care to answer:

Your daughter is paying a terrible price for your new-found knowledge. What, if anything, could have changed your mind before this disaster occurred? What would you tell other women contemplating homebirth who believe that hospitals are unnecessary?

  • I didn’t give you permission to put my daughters name on this site please remove it. Although there is an original blog about the birth story. Your exploiting my daughters name by speaking and making articles without my consent. I don’t care if I have put my home birth disaster story out for the world to read. I do not support your work at all. Please remove my daughters name from your list or any other forums that she is on with your work tied to it. It is exploitation

  • Too be honest I think your a bitch, so I care not to comment.
    Thanks though Doctor
    🙂
    Your sarcasm reeks.

    • Stacy21629

      I’m sorry you feel that way. As Dr. Amy said, she applauds that you stated you recognized your misjudgment. She has always been open and supportive of mothers that were told false information that lead to their child’s preventable death. She is not being sarcastic at all. Have you seen the blog HurtByHomeBirth? You should consider submitting your story there.

      My heart breaks for the tragedy you have suffered. If you really care about helping prevent other mothers face the same tragedy, please consider speaking with Dr. Amy and utilizing her platform as well.

    • MLE

      It’s not sarcasm. She was condemning the attitude expressed in the first part of the post while regretfully applauding your attitude in the aftermath. It’s the first attitude that leads directly to fatal outcomes, which is why she spoke harshly of it.

  • wuzzi

    Sorry to create a zombie post, but I hope the woman’s twin survived the experience.

    • MLE

      She did not. Awful.

  • Val

    She is clearly too dumb to know that vinegar and water mix so I am pretty sure that any scientific argument is beyond her.

  • Allie P

    I can’t stop thinking about this family. I really hope her baby is okay.

  • Hazel

    There are women who end up in her position or worse after talking the kind of nonsense she did who refuse to acknowledge the wrongness of their statements. Sure, she was an idiot, a fool, an unbelievable moron. I think she knows that. I admire her for eating her words because that is embarrassing and difficult, and she just might help somebody else who is in the same ignorant position as she was to see what it is their thinking really means. You can’t change what is done, but you can put your hands up and say you were wrong.

  • nx8

    I am definitely bookmarking this page and sharing it with my
    friends.

  • DiomedesV

    The fact that all of you are lauding this woman’s willingness to admit that she was wrong after the near, and absolutely needless, death of her daughter speaks mostly to how low our collective expectations are for NCB advocates. (And with good reason.) But this woman almost killed her daughter. Her daughter has survived, but it is very unlikely she will come out of this unscathed. She is not a hero. Period.

    • Certified Hamster Midwife

      No, she isn’t a hero, but she doesn’t deserve to be ridiculed as an idiot, either. Ridiculing people like her as idiots only encourages them to double down when reality challenges their beliefs.

      • DiomedesV

        Reading this woman’s posts would frame her as an idiot no matter what the context. Her self-absorbed idiocy has wrought enormous damage and no recognition of her idiocy on her part will change in any way the consequences of her decision for someone else. It is a tiny, practically meaningless gesture that will not ameliorate the needless suffering, possible death, and probable disability of her daughter.

        Homebirth, with twins no less, is still a transgressive choice favored by a tiny minority. It is not plausibly safer, and almost no one believes that it is. And despite the pleas of the few who have been suckered into this, it is not reasonable to think that it is safer. It may be difficult to admit you were wrong, but in the grand scheme of things, it will not change anything for her daughter. Nothing.

  • Kris

    WOW WHAT AN IDIOTIC WOMAN. Sorry for the emotional gut response but as a labor and delivery RN I just cannot even fathom how anyone could put their unborn babies, twins! at risk like that. I’m so angry. Stepping away now…

  • Meredith Watson

    Wow. I’m always impressed when I see someone who has the humility to admit they were wrong. I hope and pray her daughter makes it.

  • Felicitasz

    My name is Andrea (however, I am not the one on topic), and I had a home birth that ended in a non-emergency transfer and ultimtely a C/S, healthy baby, healthy me, hospital-licensed CNM, Canada.
    I do hope that Andrea’s baby daughter recovers and Andrea can come and answer. The question hit home for me, too, beause I had to deal with changing my mind before any disaster could have happened, and it wasn’t easy. My answer is that I needed a professional (a real one) whom I could trust and who could (mentally, spiritually, whatever) come to me to the place where I was, and start from there. I have NO IDEA how we could achieve this goal given the shortage of healthcare personnal and time, but I don’t know any other anser but reliable and knowledgeable professionals sitting down and talking to me in a kind way and hearing me out and take on a process of education, pointing out the bumps in my seemingly smooth line of thoughts.
    This is what my midwife did for me. Acknowledged the importance of birth experience and all the woo but marked a healthy-baby-healthy-mom outcome as a sine qua non, presenting the process of any decision-making as a _ranking of priorities_ according to the standard of a healthy outcome and based on the current reality of any situation, not the ideal images in our head.
    This takes time and compassion.
    Of course, education level helps (and a lot of NCBers are smart people), thinking and analytical skills help. Some people start for farther away (I can’t picture myself EVER stating that basically everything can be remedied with herbs and exercise, if used in a timely manner), I do not know how many professionals can be expected to go through the head-banging-into-their-desk feelings regularly as they take the time to talk kindly to the (second, fourth, tenth…) Andrea of the day. Surely they would save lives with these conversations but do they have the time?

    • Hazel

      A midwife did just that for my mum 29 years ago. Ideally she wanted a natural birth and my dad says she was a little sucked into the whole natural thing. She was quite upset when I was breech. The midwife sat her down with a cup of tea and explained to her that although a breech vaginal birth was something that could happen sometimes, their measurements suggested that my head was too large for me to be delivered that way and I’d likely get stuck. She also explained that there was nothing wrong with c-sections, she didn’t have to feel ashamed or disappointed and this really was the safest thing for both of us – the risks otherwise were too high. I think it meant a lot to my mum that the midwife took the time and made the effort.

  • moto_librarian

    So the midwife can’t be bothered to show up on time (hardly surprising, given that she was happy to deliver twins at home which is hardly a “low-risk” situation). As others have noted, this is a recurring theme in homebirth stories. I almost wonder if it wasn’t better for all involved that she wasn’t there, given that we also routinely hear about midwives who refuse to call EMS or interfere with paramedics attempts to evaluate and/or transport babies to the hospital. At least the parents knew they needed help. If that’s not scary, I don’t know what is.

    • Sue

      Yet another exception to the “midwives are with you throughout” myth.

    • Captain Obvious

      And the woo complain that the doctor just shows up to catch the baby. (Which isn’t a true representation anyways). But he shows up for the delivery. In fact he sees the patient several times during the labor, keeps track of the fetal HR tracing and maternal VS by way of electronic monitoring while he is in the office, and has a labor and delivery nurse with the patient at all times. Working as a team. But this recurring theme of Homebirth midwives not even making it to the delivery is truly pathetic.

  • Lisa Miller

    Glad she can admit she was wrong. Why the hell do midwives never never never show up?? I hear about this all the time.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Why do homebirth midwives fail to show up for births? Because they aren’t professionals.

    • C T

      Seriously. In the hospital, if the doctor doesn’t make it, there are at least trained and experienced nurses and other doctors nearby. My third was caught by a nurse because the doctor didn’t make it to the delivery room fast enough. If the midwife doesn’t show, you’re all alone at home.

  • Lena

    She might be eating her words about the necessity of hospitals in a general sense, but I’m not sure she got the message about the dangers of home birth. Notice how the problem was that the midwife didn’t show up…I get the feeling the take home message for her and many others will be to find a better midwife.

    • CourtneyTX

      What is scary to me is that she could have had a worse outcome with a midwife that delayed transfer or tried inappropriate treatment.

    • realityycheque

      Yes, that’s the vibe I got too. Retracting her statement about hospitals not being needed, however didn’t mention anything regarding a change in her views on the safety of homebirth itself, particularly for a high risk case like twins.

      If she’d had a cord prolapse in hospital, her daughter would’ve been out in a swift enough fashion to avoid this outcome. The HB midwife may have been able to try and push the cord back in and attempt to allow as much blood flow through it as possible, but at the end of the day she wouldn’t have been able to do anything to get that child out faster.

    • Amazed

      Cut the woman some slack. She’s just given birth, her baby is in critical condition… come on, it’s unreal that she’d have the energy or will to analyze her “birth experience” right now and arrive to the conclusion that homebirth is a dangerous idea.

      I am not saying that she’ll ever come to this epiphany but right now, I am absolutely not expecting of her to. All she can see now is that she needed a hospital because well, her child would have been dead without one. With homebirth, it isn’t so obvious.

      • realityycheque

        True. I don’t think Lena is trying to imply that we should be appalled by the fact that this mother hasn’t yet publicly denounced her previous views regarding homebirth, but rather as a response to a number of comments to this post which seemed to have been incorrectly interpreting the mother’s post to mean that.

        It would seem understandable that it may take a person some time to realise and accept the fault in their choice, particularly if they’ve invested a large amount of physical and emotional energy into their beliefs, and if admitting that they were wrong means coming to terms with having been mislead by people they trusted, which can be difficult in itself.

        • Lena

          Yes, my comment was more a response to the assumptions made here, as well as general comment on NCB culture in general.

          • Amazed

            Oh, I see, Sorry for taking it the wrong way.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    That’s vinegar and water status it just doesnt mix.

    I think she meant oil and water and wrote the other component of vinegar and oil dressing in a distracted moment, but it’s an interesting error because in fact it is perfectly possible to mix vinegar and water (it’s known as diluting) and is perfectly possible to have an unmedicated, natural childbirth in the hospital. And while your CNM or OB may not show up, you can be sure that there will at least be someone there to help you if something goes wrong. I’m glad she had the intellectual courage to change her mind. Some people don’t and it can end up going very, very badly for them or their babies.

  • realityycheque

    Also, what gets me about this situation is that she only had ONE midwife. I seldom hear of a homebirth with more than one midwife, and I wonder… what’s going to happen if you experience a shoulder dystocia and need to perform McRoberts with suprapubic pressure? Oh, let me guess… the Gaskin maneuver? Good luck with that… or possibly get the father or unqualified doula to help out? Yikes.

    • KarenJJ

      That’s another thing that is very different to how homebirth is practised in the US vs other western countries. Two qualified midwives attend homebirths where I live (under the government programme).

      If you were to line up the differences:

      Homebirth in the US
      VBAC, twins, breech taken on by midwives for homebirth
      Only one trained midwife plus maybe a student/doula
      Untrained and unlicensed people can call themselves midwives
      No insurance

      Homebirth in other countries
      Strict criteria to be elligible for a homebirth
      Two fully trained and licensed midwives at the birth
      Midwives must be university trained in an accredited course and licensed.
      Insurance – it’s an ongoing battle in Australia. As I understand it they are meant to have it.
      And even with all this, the outcomes are not beating the hospital outcomes and there are still deaths and disabilities.

      This is off the top of my head, happy to be corrected. The US seems to differ a lot between states as well, plus in Australia and the UK it is possible to hire a private midwife that isn’t as strict at risking out high risk patients nor is integrated into the hospital system.

      • realityycheque

        Not always, unfortunately. I live in Australia and I only had a sole midwife attend my baby’s homebirth. At the time I had no idea that things like shoulder dystocia even existed.

        She also called breech a ‘variation of normal’ and was against Heb B and Vit K injections for newborns.

        I wish I could say that she’s a rarity, but at least within my local area this seems to be the norm.

        • KarenJJ

          Is this with a private midwife? I was thinking of the homebirth programme in my area, which is part of the public health system. I don’t know much about private midwives in Australia (apart from reading about Lisa Barrett, which doesn’t lend much confidence.. was hoping she’s more of a one-off.)

          • realityycheque

            Yep, private midwife.

          • Anj Fabian

            AFAIK, there are “private midwives” (Australia), “independent midwives” (UK) and “birth attendants” (Canada) who operate much like the American CPMs. While those midwives may have better education and training than the American CPM, they have similar weak oversight and are poorly regulated.

          • KarenJJ

            Would be interesting to know the homebirth statistics of private midwives vs public midwives. Although Lisa Barrett would likely skew the results somewhat.

          • Sue

            The independent midwives in Oz are required to have a formal agreement with a specific OB. South Aus is crafting legislation to capture unregistered providers in its net. Like the AVN, minor victories by those who flaunt good practice are inspiring significant tightening of tnelaw – supported by both sides of politics.

    • PrecipMom

      My anecdata is the opposite. One of my births had 2 full CPMS and 2 apprentices, another had 2 CPMs and 1 assistant (that practice, to their credit, runs drills for things like SD and cord prolapse), the last had 1 CNM and 1 CPM. I know of one person who has only one attendant present and it scares the hell out of me. The norm is one primary midwife and then one other person who is going to be anywhere from an independent practitioner to an assistant who has no business being involved in anyone’s medical care. There are reasons to lambast home birth, but most practices are not that delusional.

      • realityycheque

        I’m pleased to hear that this is the way things are done where you’re from, and I sincerely hope that having a single midwife in attendance is not considered the norm for the most part.

        I’ve heard far too many stories on SOB and HBH where the mother of a dead or severely injured child only mentions one attending midwife, and in my (albeit crunchy) area, I have yet to hear of a single homebirth attended by more than one midwife. It’s something I honestly can’t wrap my head around, since I believe Australian midwives are CNM equivalent and with such an education should really know better.

      • Becky05

        This was my experience, too. I had a CPM and her assistant present. I believe the assistant was a former lay midwife. The CPM had back up coverage agreements with at least one other CPM.

    • Certified Hamster Midwife

      Only one midwife with twins, no less!

    • Eddie

      And what’s going to happen if her single midwife is sick, caught in traffic, on vacation, or (god forbid) in the hospital when labor starts?

      • Happy Sheep

        Or what happens when the mother is bleeding out and the baby isn’t breathing? Blow cinnamon breath on mom while chanting to the baby? Or write the baby off because “some babies aren’t meant to live”
        I don’t get it, these MWs have absolutely no forethought or regard for human life

        • amazonmom

          Sometimes the baby is forgotten about while the mother has an emergency after delivery. There is usually nobody assigned to care for the infant alone so EMS arrives, sees a bleeding out mom and notices the baby is blue and cold in a scale or bassinet. Then I fight the dad to be allowed to warm the baby, draw labs, etc because “we don’t want routine procedures”

      • sdsures

        This scenario was told in the fiction book “Midwives” by Chris Bojahlian. Really enjoyable book, but a sad story.

  • realityycheque

    I’ve seen so many women who’ve had homebirths go wrong that still had nothing but contempt for the very hospitals that saved their childrens’ lives, or at least tried their hardest to do so when presented with a child that was already in an incredibly bad way; the fact that she’s had the courage to come out and publicly admit that she was wrong mustn’t have been easy, particularly given her current situation, and I respect her for that. I hope her child recovers and that the end to this story is not a tragic one.

    Whilst this outcome is devastating and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, the other side of the coin frightens me too… what if her homebirth had gone well? Would she then be out there shouting from the rooftops about how hospitals aren’t needed and potentially encouraging others to do the same? Would she directly encourage other women with high risk pregnancies to try homebirth? I’ve seen it happen so many times and it’s like a ripple effect, but somewhere along the line, someone’s baby is going to get hurt.

    I feel like you can’t win… homebirth/high risk homebirth/UC/high risk UC goes wrong = tragedy. Homebirth/high risk homebirth/UC/high risk UC goes well = thank god, but the mother may then use her positive outcome to encourage others to make the same choice as she did, increasing the risk of someone else suffering a tragedy.

    • BeatlesFan

      Unfortunately, if she does try to tell her story on any pro-HB sites or forums, there’s a 99.9% liklihood it will be deleted, since it shows HB to be dangerous and the hospital in a positive light. I’m very happy this mother has seen the error of her ways and is willing to admit it, but sadly, I doubt it will make as much impact as it would have if there had been no problems and she was still off ranting about how unnecessary hospitals are.

      I hope the baby girl is all right, without any long-term consequences. I suspect this mother will spend a very long time cringing on the inside when she remembers the things she said before the birth. I hope she IS able to tell her babies’ story and have it be heard, and perhaps it will change the minds of some women who aren’t quite suffering from “it won’t happen to me” syndrome yet.

  • I don’t have a creative name

    Poor baby girl. If only these lessons would be learned without such a terrible price.

    • KarenJJ

      It’s exactly why NCBs should switch focus and move onto natural health care for situations where the stakes aren’t as high – like amputations for example. Bite down on stick, bit of garlic on the wound to prevent infection and you’re sorted! No need to risk your own child for an authentic non-hospital experience.

  • amazonmom

    Poor baby. I’m so sorry that mom learned about the possible consequences of her actions all too well.

  • JC422

    If I go to an OB, I might not be guaranteed that exact OB will deliver my baby. (Mine warned me she had been up for 2 nights in a row and had to reschedule my induction because of that. I was fine with this decision because she delivered my first and I thought she was awesome.) But even if she had been too wiped out from lack of sleep to attend my birth, I at least know an equally qualified OB would be there. Why is it that so many of these homebirth stories include a midwife who doesn’t show up or a midwife who shows up and then leaves? If I deliver at a hospital I know not all the doctors will be shopping or napping. I joke, but seriously, why would you pay someone who may or may not show up when you need them the most?

    • sleuther

      That is one of the most vexing things about anti-OB diatribes…. women who want a 100% guarantee that “their” doctor will do the delivery. I’d much rather have a rested doctor on call than an exhausted one. Due to the unpredictable timing of childbirth, it’s a compromise I can live with and there is good logical reasoning behind it. It’s not all about the doctor’s golf game, it’s about safety and scalability.

      PS: With my 2nd daughter, the on-call OB with my practice (not my regular OB) actually did a better job stitching me up from my C/S than my regular one did with Daughter #1. Go figure.

      • realityycheque

        I can empathise with the desire to know who is going to be with you during childbirth. It’s a vulnerable, embarrassing experience for many and the thought of having someone you’ve never met seeing you like that and getting a full-frontal view of your privates would feel pretty uncomfortable for a lot of women.

        On that note, whilst I can empathise with those feelings and I believe (particularly in cases where there’s a history of sexual abuse) that we should try to help the mother feel as comfortable and safe as possible during this time, it’s far more desirable to have a qualified back-up who you don’t know that has the skills to ensure the safest birth for you and your child, than a “super nice” underqualified attendant who wouldn’t have have the capacity to do a damn thing in an emergency – or worse still, not even rock up.

        I’m not sure if most OBs do this, but perhaps having one or two joint sessions with the back-up OB towards the end of the pregnancy would help the mother feel more comfortable with the situation.

    • moto_librarian

      Competent CNM practices run this way too. I was assigned a primary midwife, but in my third trimester, I met the other midwives since I had no idea who would be on call when I went into labor. It happened that both of my deliveries were attended by the midwives that I had the least amount of contact with, but they were great. I will add that some of the crunchier patients in the practice were very unhappy about this.

    • FormerPhysicist

      My OB was there for my first birth, but the resident did the checking and then the C/S. My OB went skiing the week before I was due and broke his arm. :/

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    I have mentioned this before, but the lifespan in rural China in the 1920s, before the introduction of modern medicine and where you would expect the Traditional Chinese Medicine would be the strongest, was 25 for males, and 24 for females. Females presumably lived shorter lives because they were dying in childbirth.

    Now, I realize this woman didn’t actually claim TCM, but that was predicated on using herbs. And it was a disaster.

    THAT’S what happened before hospitals.

    • auntbea

      But did they have kale?

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Of course not. That’s why the women’s lifespan was less. See, if they had kale, the women could have lived all the way to 25, too!

    • Eddie

      It is the willful ignorance of this obvious reality (if one does the merest bit of research or knows just about ANY history at all before WW-II) that continues to amaze me.

  • Box of Salt

    My best wishes for a full recovery for Aminah, and also for her whole family’s well being.

  • staceywm

    Good for her! Its it good she learned from this, and I hope her baby is OK.
    Too bad its a little late.

  • ForgotMyOldName

    Sadly, I imagine that whatever she would now tell other women contemplating home birth will fall on deaf ears. She’ll be accused, like all the other regretful homebirth moms before her, of scaring pregnant women, playing the dead baby card, and being biased. She’ll probably be reminded that babies die in the hospital, too, and that any unpleasantness she or her baby are experiencing in the hospital are BECAUSE it’s the hospital. She MAY be accused of not doing everything she could while pregnant to prevent prolapse– did she follow the Brewer Diet? did she get chiropractic care from someone doing the Weber technique? was her spirit truly open to welcoming the baby and the experience?

    • staceywm

      She will be told that had the MW shown up, it would have been FINE.

      • realityycheque

        Exactly, the chances of the midwife being able to do anything constructive to help a cord prolapse are effectively nil, but you know this would be a huge argument from the NCB troop.

    • Lisa from NY

      Yes, she will be told that hospitals kill babies and mothers, and that it says so in [name of NCB book here] and [NCB author] knows better than you because why would [NCB author] make it up?

    • Rachel Mills

      I just hope she knows she’s in good company over here on the dark side. We have many women who unfortunately relate.

      • staceyjw

        Sadly, if she associates (online!) with people that read this blog, or even mentions Dr Amy, she will be pushed right out of her circle of NCB/HB friends. Respecting others choices, but disagreeing, is not enough for them; you have to approve and advocate for them as well. This is why the echo chambers are so complete! You have to participate in serious thought control just to be among them. Any hint of disagreement and you are outta there.

        If she reads this, I also hope she can realize that if they can defriend you over something like this, then they weren’t the best people to be around in the first place.

        • AmyM

          While I agree with you in general, her original opinion about hospitals on babycenter (not mdc) was in the minority. Many of the other people there…and these were other women into NCB…weren’t willing to support her extreme viewpoint. So far, none of the comments on her update post are obnoxious, just condolences. Certainly echo chambers can be found on many internet forums, including some at babycenter, but that site is so large and diverse that it does not come across (to me) as all NCB all the time/anti-science like mdc.

    • Bombshellrisa

      Kale. She didn’t eat enough of it or drink enough raspberry leaf tea to tone her uterus.

    • melisaholloman

      I’d like to karate chop anyone who says that to this poor mother in the throat.

  • Alenushka

    I hope the child does well. Poor mom and the poor baby.

  • Happy Sheep

    I commented on that thread, she seemed quite young and very sure of her “facts”. I was impressed that most of the comments were pretty sane and recognized that hospitals were needed. I distinctly remember thinking “I hope she doesn’t learn she’s wrong at the expense of her baby”. It saddens me that her poor baby, her and her family all have to suffer from her mistake.

    This was an awful way to be woken up from her delusions and lack of knowledge and history, I am glad that everyone made it out alive though.

    Why is it that these people always scream about being educated, and yet seem to know nothing at all, in her “research” did she never read up on any adverse events? I’m guessing not, from her comments on that thread, she clearly was not going to listen to anything that wasn’t supportive of her beliefs.

    Dr Amy, this is why this blog is so important, the information needs to be highlighted on what can go wrong, and stories like this need to be told so that when the next twin mother is “researching” on Dr Google, maybe they will think twice, or at least have the information.

    • LukesCook

      “Why is it that these people always scream about being educated, and yet seem to know nothing at all, in her “research” did she never read up on any adverse events?”

      Google “homebirth safe” and then google “homebirth dangerous”. That’s the thing about internet research, you find what you look for.

      • realityycheque

        Plus, they’re told that anything negative is “fear mongering”, that homebirth can be completely safe if you do x, y, z and that listening to anything “negative” will lead to a bad outcome, so they can only expose themselves to things that blindly support their position.

        • Lizzie Dee

          Homebirth obviously can be completely safe – or, at any rate, completely blissful – but not because you did x,y and z. The most insanely risky birth can go well, and women who place their trust in doing x y and z to perfection can end up wondering why it didn’t work.

          I have always had a problem with fear-mongering. Disturbing the serenity and optimism of happily pregnant women doesn’t seem to me that helpful. But birth needs to be respected, not trusted. I don’t think pregnancy necessarily is the time to contemplate the things that might (but probably won’t) go wrong – but why has the reality of childbirth without modern aids been so thoroughly deleted? The fear mongering around hospitals is far more negative than knowing that life in nature is, can be, nasty, brutish and short.

          I read with interest the other day about the relative who related her own story of a disabled child to talk someone out of attempting a homebirth. I couldn’t do that. I am very reticent about my own history around pregnant women. In my own way I do respect their right to innocence. But I am also quite angrily militant about the vulnerability of brain cells,of life itself, the foolishness of taking unnecessary risks and the very high cost of misjudgement or luck running out. In my day, when contraception was not so reliable and women’s choice were more limited, young women were much more aware of the downsides of reproduction. Where did that go?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I don’t think pregnancy necessarily is the time to contemplate the things that might (but probably won’t) go wrong

            I disagree completely.

            Because the stakes are so high, and, despite the NCB mantra, of how risky it is (STILL the riskiest day of your life), pregnancy is THE time to think about what could go wrong and prepare for it. Think about what are we going to do if we have a child who is disabled, or what if mom or child dies?

            Expect the best, yes, but prepare for the worst.

          • AmyM

            I with Bofa here, though I tend to take that approach to everything. I wouldn’t go out of my way to go up to a pregnant woman and list everything that can go wrong..that is just mean. But I wouldn’t keep it from her either…most pregnant women (in the Western world) will come across that info either through their OBs and/or books and websites they read anyway. At least in America, it is widely accepted that drinking, smoking, and eating certain foods are bad ideas during pregnancy. It is widely accepted that hospitals are the best place to have babies.

            This hits home the most for me when I read or hear about people wanting twins (or worse, HOMs). I love having twins, and I wouldn’t change anything, but it wasn’t a choice and the pregnancy was dangerous for all of us. Most people AREN’T aware of that aspect. I know of too many families (through real life and online multiples groups) whose multiples weren’t as lucky as mine and are impaired for life. Even a few families that lost one or more due to complications of multiples. Of course, having twins isn’t a choice for most people anyway, but I try not to let ignorance stand. It isn’t all cutesy matching outfits when your baby is fighting for life in the NICU.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Note that Liz’s comment that I responded to talked about “contemplating” the things that might go wrong. Contemplation is an individual act, not someone coming up with a “list of things that can go wrong.”

            Preparing for contingencies is part of the pregnancy process just as is picking out nursery colors.

          • Lizzie Dee

            Preparing for contingencies is part of the pregnancy process just as is picking out nursery colors.

            Yes of course it is, and I was assuming that any sensible, rational person does that. Not at all advocating denial. Bofa, you have yourself said that you spent a lot of your wife’s pregnancies being anxious, but things in the end went reasonably well for you both. Of course that makes a lot more sense than the kind of denial encouraged by NCB. But preparing for contingencies in that way is still abstract – I am not sure that you can, ever, grasp or understand the reality, and most don’t have to.

            People sneering at the dead baby card completely baffle me. Why do they not understand that dead or seriously damaged babies are real, do happen, and that it is not an event you recover from?

          • CourtneyTX

            I agree with Bofa. I am in a long TTC mode here and I am reading and learning as much as possible before pregnancy, but there are a lot of decisions that I think will be impacted by the experience of pregnancy as well as situations that are pregnancy specific that must be contemplated during pregnancy for clarity. Right now I see my choices as educated guesses and a general road map allowing myself the room to change according to how pregnancy affects me and what the exact circumstances of a pregnancy are. I know that had TTC not taken this long already I would be much less risk adverse, but after a year I know I will be more protective and shy from all perceived risks based on my experience of wanting and waiting for so long. Expect the best, but always be prepared for the worst.

          • theadequatemother

            Why do pregnant women have a “right to innocence” do we stop being rational creatures that must be protected from reality the minute we get knocked up? is this a hold-over from the old and disproven idea that “stress” and “bad thoughts” in pregnancy are bad for the baby?

          • Anj Fabian

            I read that as a “right to ignorance” myself.

            If you don’t want to hear the dozens of things that can go wrong, I understand. If you put yourself in the care of people who are trained to deal with those things, then you are dealing with the risks in a proactive manner.

            If you want to deny that anything can go wrong and as a result, to place yourself far from the people who can intervene, I’m going to understand that your state of mind is a cause for concern. After all, you’ll be caring for a helpless infant and if you continue the fear/denial/avoidance, you could put your own child in danger.

  • Bombshellrisa

    “what did people do before hospitals? Herb doctors, cleansing, or whatever was needed for the person to be back on trap”
    Don’t forget the blood letting and leaches.

    • PollyPocket

      Don’t knock leaches! They are very helpful post ear reattachments to help drain blood, as it takes time for the microvasculature to regenerate.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        And they give us hirudin, a novel anticoagulant. She’s right that there are a lot of useful substances to be found in nature. But what’s wrong with isolating the active ingredient and using it in as safe and effective as possible a manner rather than using a bit of herb of unknown strength and with unknown other ingredients?

    • staceywm

      “What did people do before hospitals?’
      They died, young and broken, from easy to fix things.

      • MikoT

        Exactly. Why is it so hard to get this point across to people?

        • Rachel Mills

          Because the species has survived. We’re all the fittest now!

        • GiddyUpGo123

          Because back then they didn’t know anything about personal hygiene and eating an all-organic raw-vegan diet. Those two things will cure all that ails you.

      • Alexis C.

        Yup.

        I have very fond memories of my great-grandmother. She was probably about 4’10”, mader monkey bread to die for, and dyed her hair flaming red. It wasn’t until I started getting into genealogy that I learned that she had three sisters who died in childhood. One from scarlet fever, one from laryngitis (at least that’s what the death certificate said) and one from some sort of stomach ailment. It blew my mind that people I KNOW (or knew, in this case, as she passed away some years ago) were alive in a time when those things happened in the US.

        • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

          Exactly, my maternal grandmother lost her mother when she was 2, during childbirth (hemorrhage amongst other complications), the baby died too. The baby was delivered by a doctor at home, this was rural Vermont in the first half of the 20th century so that was pretty common. My great-grandmother was 20 when she died. My grandmother grew up and had 8 children, she was lucky , she only lost one of them, her third, to complications due to Rh factor. he was stillborn. Of her surviving 7 children she narrowly missed losing the younger ones to scarlet fever, my aunt was 2 months at the time and they were certain she wouldn’t survive. Several of her neighbors children died. No one thought if was particularly unusual at the time. My sister caught measles at age 2 (it was the fifties) and was seriously ill for weeks.

        • Melly

          When my grandmother was a toddler, she lost 4 siblings to diphtheria in 10 DAYS.

          The whole house was under quarantine, there was lumber handed in through a window to my great-grandfather so that he could build a coffin, place his child inside, nail it shut and pass it out through the window again. He had to do that four times in a week and a half.

          The children they lost ranged in age from 3 to 10. They were not allowed to attend the burials (I’m not sure if there were full funerals).

          They say my great-grandmother never really recovered, today she’d probably be diagnosed PTSD. She later had a son and gave him the names of the two sons she’d lost.

          That’s what life was like without hospitals. And I guarantee you that she would have given all she had in life for the DTaP vaccine, “potential adverse reactions” be damned!

          • auntbea

            I would not recover either.

          • realityycheque

            How absolutely tragic. My heart breaks for them 🙁

            It’s so easy to deny the value of modern medicine when we’ve grown up in the first-world during an age where things like this just aren’t seen.

      • Bombshellrisa

        And they probably didn’t do “cleanses”.

    • Kalacirya

      My mother told me when I was a kid that when she was a teenager, she had a tonsil infection so bad it almost swelled her throat shut. She said as interesting as it might have been to be born in the time of the ancient Egyptians or other interesting, she’d rather be in the modern era where you can fix such things and not die at 14.

    • Robin Byrne

      And death. Don’t forget death. 🙁

    • Lizzie Dee

      Is “trap” for “track” a Freudian slip, do you think? This unfortunate woman seems to have fallen into one.

  • KumquatWriter

    Kudos to her for owning it and saying she was wrong. Its never easy but the world.would be better if more people did.

  • thankfulmom

    Thankfulmom (I couldn’t sign on to Disqus)

    My daughter had a prolapsed cord. We are very blessed that a nurse insisted on me being checked after ONE decel. on the monitor. My room quickly filled up with people to assist and a resuscitation team for my baby was right there. My daughter is alive and well because we were in the hospital with an experienced and vigilant staff.

    My condolences to baby Aminah’s mother. NICU staff are some of the most compassionate people you will ever encounter.

    • Rachel Mills

      Talk about compassion – the OB that was on call when I had to transfer. I am so grateful to her. And so glad I ran into her at a restaurant unexpectedly with my healthy child and had a chance to tell her so. OMG. She was stellar and human and wonderful and all of the things NCB tells you they’re not.

    • realityycheque

      NICU staff are amazing. I cannot imagine ever having the strength to deal with sick and dying babies on a daily basis… it would break my heart. It takes a special kind of person to do that job.

  • Charlotte

    This is why history is so important. Anyone who has spent even the smallest amount of time studying it knows that before modern hospitals, people died. A woman could only expect about a quarter of her children to reach adulthood. Life expectancy less than 40 years. Most children would lose at least one parent as a child, and frequently both. Death was an ever-present part of life. It drives me mad when people claim various herbs and primitive remedies could ever match the efficacy and safety of modern medicine simply because they are natural. Natural does not equal safe and effective.

    I do give her credit for admitting she was wrong, and I hope her baby survives. I wouldn’t wish that burden on anyone. May this tragedy help others see how dangerous this belief that simple herbs are all we need is.

    • FormerPhysicist

      Don’t forget that constant pain was also pretty much expected if you were older (30? 40?) It really wasn’t “healthy as all get-out” until you dropped dead of influenza.

  • Robin Byrne

    I applaud this mother for acknowledging her change of view, and I wish her the best with her new babies during what is a difficult time. As an aside – lets focus on her strength in publicly acknowledging her change of view, rather than further kicking her while she is down.

    Remember – homebirth decisions are made in the context of a great deal of pressure and misinformation, and this woman may well be just as much a victim of that.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Victim? She was the one peddling the shit!!

      Jesus, others tried to even correct her, and she went off on them. SHE was the one doing the pressuring and spreading the misinformation.

  • antigone23

    You mean not everything in the world can be cured by herbs? What a freaking surprise. A shame the poor baby had to suffer for her stupidity.

    • Zornorph

      Well, it can be if the herb is marijuana. Mom should have had a few bong hits before birth and it would have mellowed her right out.

  • desiree

    Oh no, how awful. I hope the baby is OK, and I hope the midwife is prosecuted for agreeing to homebirth twins.

    • Rachel Mills

      Well, yes, but isn’t a midwife pretty much worthless in the face of a cord prolapse anyway? Honest question. What could she have done?

      • KarenJJ

        Not taken her on as a client to start with. Homebirth of twins is risked out of midwifery care where I live.

        • desiree

          Exactly. High risk of prolapse is one of the reasons twins are considered high risk. They are (or should be) outside a homebirth midwife’s scope of practice.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Just wait for the excuses to come in. Oh, it’s not clueless midwives, it is just THIS midwife who made a mistake.

            Yet, for some reason, they still get mad at Dr Amy for criticizing it.

  • Eyerollin

    “what did people do before hospitals?” They suffered and died. Didn’t she educate herself? Glad to hear things ended up okay even with her “learning experience”, however. She should slap the shit out of that sorry excuse for a midwife. She didn’t show up, what, was she busy baking yoni cupcakes or some shit?

    • Eyerollin

      Well I mean the baby is alive – I’m hoping it will be okay. At first read through it sounded like it would be, but it’s hard to tell from the way these moms talk sometimes.

      • Anj Fabian

        In the first few days, it’s watch and wait. So a lot of what parents hear is “X, Y and Z are good signs, but we won’t know more until later.”.

  • Susan

    Hard lesson to learn. Very sad. Though it does lend credence to the idea that the reason that natural birth zealots love to say OBs never see a natural birth is because a birth can’t be natural in a hospital. Do they pass that gem around with the secret handshake?

  • E-m

    And for the record: vinegar and water do mix!

    • Ceridwen

      Yeah, I have to admit this part amused me greatly.

      It’s great she admitted she was wrong…but just…wow. If she’d put any *real* thought into this before the babies were born her daughter might be healthy and home with her. Not fighting for her life.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Yeah, I was going to say that. Right there you have the sign of the pseudo-educated

      • LukesCook

        I once worked for an attorney with a hugely entertaining propensity to muddle his sayings. I fondly remember such gems as “thick in the tooth”. He wasn’t the most highly educated (or intelligent) lawyer I’ve ever met, but not uneducated either.

        • Yammy

          LOL. Well I sure hope he didn’t seem like he was too full for his britches.

          /ew

        • Sgaile-beairt

          yeah its back on TRACK too, not, back on TRAP….wtf does back on trap even mean??

    • Lisa from NY

      The correct cliche is water and oil don’t mix. Regardless, what would it prove?

    • realityycheque

      Haha, my partner was looking over my shoulder and the first thing he said was, “Uhh… vinegar and water do mix”. He was pretty pleased with himself when I pointed out that this was the top comment.

      • E-m

        I should have mentioned that while I am a professional chemical educator, I am not currently practicing. I hear that undermines anything I say even if it is pure fact.

        • realityycheque

          Oh, but of course! Be sure to put scare quotes around any title of yours in future.

  • suchende

    I have been bullheadedly wrong about many things in my life. I won’t even recount the issues I have changed positions on; many I am embarrassed to ever have thought differently.

    Thank God I never had to harm my child to learn my mistake. How absolutely horrible.

    • Studentmidwife

      I know. I’ve made some mistakes that just make my stomach tie in knots when I think about them. I have been so lucky that none of my stupid decisions have led to permanent harm for me or for someone I love. I really feel for this woman, it sounds to me like she bought the NCB package – Twins are a variation of normal! You can’t have a natural birth in the hospital! Your midwife will give you one on one support and attention throughout your entire labor and will get you to the hospital quickly and easily if any complications occur (but they won’t)! – without even realizing she was being played a fool, and she may be paying for it for the rest of her life. I hope her baby is okay without long-term deficits. How heartbreaking.

    • fiftyfifty1

      Bittersweet and strange
      Finding you can change
      Learning you were wrong

      -Howard Ashman

    • Lisa from NY

      It’s so sad how the educated think the printed word is absolute truth, regardless of where it’s found.

  • Dr Kitty

    Poor baby.
    I would LOVE to see the herbal cleanse that would restore blood flow to a cerebral or coronary artery.

    • Lizzie Dee

      Poor mother as well though. I do feel a lot of sympathy for the awful experience this must have been. To have such trust, belief and naivete and then to slam up so hard against circumstances like this. This doesn’t sound quite like someone who has bought into the NCB pretty version, but as if her beliefs were already in place and NCB just reinforced them. It is to her credit that she can openly eat her words in this way.

      I suspect that very little would have changed her mind beforehand. Where she will end up when the shock wears off will depend to some extent on what happens longer term to her baby – and how long it took to get to the resources that can make a difference.

    • PollyPocket

      Or cure spina bifida, or an AAA, or end stage renal disease, or decubitus ulcers, a PE…

      The list is just so endless.

      • staceywm

        Or even just cure a bad infection….

    • Zornorph

      But you can’t make KFC with 11 special hospital procedures. You need herbs for that. And spices.

  • lucy logan

    i applaud her for admitting she was wrong. how horrible. who was the midwife? seemingly someone even more incompetent and reckless than average it seems…

    • staceywm

      Not more reckless than average- average HB MWs DO take twins, they DO often miss the birth, or show up really late.
      Nope, this MW is very average, sadly.

  • Burgundy

    Dr. Amy

    I found your blog yesterday and could not stop reading the articles. Why would any well educated women chose a risky home birth was beyond my understanding. While I was pregnant with my 2nd daughter, I was approached by a home birth paddler at one of the wholefood places (I was buying prenatal supplements). She kept bugging me and ignored my polite shoot off. Finally I told her that my father was a well respect MD and she took off really quickly.

    I hope the baby survive, it is a terrible and non sensible tragedy.